April PAD Challenge: Day 28

Apparently, Day 27’s comments were wiped clean sometime last night. Please re-paste your poem in the comments for Day 27. (Click here to go to Day 27’s prompt.) I apologize for the inconvenience, but luckily, we’re only a few days from the finish line.


After today, we’ll have made it 4 weeks into the month. Only 2 days left! Of course, being so close to the end, I have to throw in a special challenge, right?

For today’s prompt, I want you to write a sestina. (Click here to find out the rules for sestinas.) So start figuring out your 6 end words and get writing.

But wait! Today is Tuesday, so you have one other option. You can write a poem about the sestina (your love, hate, frustration with, etc.).

Whether you decide to write a sestina or write about sestinas, remember to have fun. We’re almost done!

Here’s my attempt for the day:

“The green cactus”

This morning, I found a cactus
beneath the desk lamp
on my desk. It’s made of plastic,
the cactus. Somehow
these things just happen.
I have my usual suspects,

though I’m not sure they suspect
I know about the cactus,
not yet. My boys were happening
to hang around my lamp
just yesterday. This is how
boys lose toys made of plastic

then expect new ones. Whether by plastic
or cash. I stash the suspect
toy in a file cabinet. How
long will I hide the cactus?
Who knows? The heat of my lamp
could’ve melted it. I happen

to think that could happen,
though I’m not certain of plastic
and its melting point beneath desk lamps.
Maybe I’m guilty of suspecting
too much. It’s only a cactus,
and I’m sure that’s exactly how

I was as a boy. That’s how
behavior passes, and they happen
to have a forgetful father with a cactus
made of cheap, green plastic.
My mind is as suspect
as anyone’s held under a lamp

and analyzed. Read my palm
to suggest the what and how
of dealing with little male suspects
who love me and just happen
to leave their little plastic
toys as offerings. This little cactus,

sweet cactus, re-emerge beneath my lamp
in your skin of plastic. Show how
a father can return a love never suspect.

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817 thoughts on “April PAD Challenge: Day 28

  1. Kimiko Martinez

    Apparently mine never posted. Perhaps thankfully so, because it was pretty weak. Oh well. Here it is anyway:


    She told me her secrets in
    my backyard play-
    house; she’d confess what-
    ever was on her mind. Bare-
    ing her soul I always knew
    just how perfectly power-

    less she felt. How his power-
    ful hands could injure her in-
    nocence and daily renew
    a hatred my petite play-
    mate could rarely, barely
    contain. We’d much What-

    chamacallit bars and what-
    not while listening to power
    ballads, trading embar-
    rassing stories about boys that in-
    terested us. We remembered play-
    ing with the girl who made new

    rules mid-game so as not to lose; New
    York dreams and doing what-
    ever those big city girls did. Plain
    Janes they were not, in their power
    suits and stocking walking beside in-
    vestment bankers. She recalled Yogi Bear

    giggling with Boo-Boo as he bar-
    relled his fist into her new-
    ly healed ribs. She winced within
    herself but didn’t let him see what
    he’d done to her. That power
    was hers. She yielded like Play

    Doh to his assault, her only option to pla-
    cate a rage she couldn’t understand. Strawber-
    ry Shortcake smiled from pillowcases as POW! Her
    eye began to swell. She moved to New-
    port Girls’ Home when they learned what
    he’d done. I think he went to prison.

    She plays with new friends now.
    Unbearable weight lifted, healing the
    remaining scars and releasing fresh power
    from within.

  2. Tara Hooper

    Work to Love Love to Work

    It’s hard work to love
    Even more energy is needed for passion
    Both elements can excite
    Signs can be seen in a caress
    The return and benefits are worth the work
    Hopefully always present is satisfaction and fulfillment

    Enjoying the work one does is a passion
    Sharing your thoughts and ideas with others is fulfilling
    Empowering others to be better is exciting
    Challenging the thought process is like a nurturing caress
    With these actions in place coming to the office is not considered work
    But engaging in a daily love

    Knowing what you’re good at is fulfilling
    Being able to do what you do best is no work
    Using your skills to accomplish something great is a passion
    Seeing others benefit is very exciting
    Them giving you appreciation is a warm caress
    Knowing that you made a significant impact is lovely

    Having an interaction with another whether physical or mental can be fulfilling
    The physical aspect of a relationship should be filled with passion
    Touching one another within a soft caress
    Spending time, sharing thoughts, dreams and ambitions is like making love
    The ebb and flow of the conversation, opening yourself up and being vulnerable is like work
    Just knowing that a special person is there for you regardless of your circumstances is exciting

    Building bonds within the business environment is a form of love
    Laboring together to accomplish a common goal can be considered passionate
    Starting a project and watching it through its life cycle is extremely exciting
    Nurturing those around you and seeing them grow is fulfilling
    Spending time with people you care about is like being at home not at work
    Receiving a pat on the back for a job well done is like receiving a caress

    Feeling the touch from one you care about is lovely
    Daydreaming about your intimate moments increases your passion
    Awaiting your next moment together brings the butterflies out and is exciting
    Yearning just to feel their caress
    Knowing that despite the ups and downs the relationship is worth the work
    Having someone to love and them love you back in spite of all is fulfilling

    So regardless of whether one’s working to love or love to work
    A person must do what they are passionate about and excites them
    You must caress to fruition whatever path you choose for fulfillment.

  3. Laura Kayne

    Although I wrote this on April 28th (and am sure I posted it) have just seen that it didn’t post/save. Hope it’s not too late!

    On Not Writing a Sestina

    I never took the Forms of Poetry course,
    Learnt the sestina, villianelle and sonnet,
    Refused to constrict my poems
    To the structure of metre
    And rythme.

    In the pub he’d tell me
    Of the course’s success,
    Of the group’s discoveries
    Of formula and pattern,
    Lines shaped to perfection.

    But I enjoyed the freedom
    Of free-form poetry,
    Unrestricted by rules
    And open to interpretation
    And reading.

    So now my free verse poems
    Are the ones I write daily
    To meet this April Challenge,
    While others try to write sestinas
    I humbly submit this formless poem instead.

  4. JL Smither

    DMV Sestina

    I’m sitting at the DMV waiting
    for my number to be called.
    Outside, the parking lot is crowded
    with cars just as with people inside.
    A low, constant murmur, grumbling,
    interrupted by the intercom—A24!

    in unpredictable intervals—B44!
    and someone jumps up, while we stay waiting
    shifting, snorting, sneezing, grumbling,
    passing the time until our numbers are called.
    The air always feels wet inside
    here, stuffy, because it’s always so crowded

    Even first thing in the morning it’s crowded
    with all races and sizes in raincoats—A34!
    at least avoiding the rain by staying inside
    and I wonder if they all have business or are just waiting
    out the storm, or maybe they already called
    a ride, someone home or at work grumbling

    that they have to leave and pick up their grumbling
    kid who didn’t pass his test, and the highway’s crowded
    so they’re pissed, and I’m still wondering when I’ll be called
    so I check my number for the fiftieth time and see D84
    and a woman with red hair and green scrubs is still waiting
    even though she was sitting here inside

    long before I arrived, firmly lost inside
    a book, and my stomach is grumbling,
    I notice, and how can I still be waiting
    here? The fat man next to me crowds
    closer and belches and drops his number B14
    on the floor, and then his wife calls

    on his old cell phone and they talked until he called
    her a something not fit for the inside
    of a poem and I was just leaving when—D84
    my number is called! And I bounce to the grumbling
    bureaucrat who is stuffed into his crowded
    cramped teller window, just waiting

    for me or someone else, waiting to die, to be called
    to anything besides this crowded, stuffy cube inside
    this old, crumbling, grumbling building just to help D84.

  5. SaraV

    I love to sing about a star
    Always believed that a wish
    Would come true for me
    No matter how far
    I was sure I’d see
    That dream some day

    What a day
    That bright star
    Would let me see
    When my wish
    No matter how far
    Came true for me

    No more making fun of me
    For believing that some day
    No matter how far
    Because I believed in the star
    And the truth of the wish
    Would be there to see

    When everyone would see
    What was granted to me
    The best wish
    Came true that day
    Because the star
    No matter how far

    No matter how far
    But I could see
    The special star
    Meant just for me
    To ask that day
    To grant my wish

    Not just any wish
    No matter how far
    Would come true some day
    And everyone would see
    Not just me
    The magic of stars

    So when you wish upon a star
    Like me, no matter how far
    You will see it come true some day

  6. Angie Bell

    I know I’m late but I HAD to finish!!!

    By the Sea

    Awakening to a morning glorious
    She puts on the wide brimmed hat for a walk
    Anxious for what she will soon discover
    Three blocks down she can distinguish the waves
    It’s early and time for the sun’s kindness
    It’s early and time for the wind’s mercy

    She walks in affection and in mercy
    Bright gold hypericums are glorious
    Surf immerses tender toes in kindness
    So sweet is every novel morning’s walk
    Slender sea oats on the dunes sigh and wave
    Serenity is her discovery

    Back at her bungalow she discovers
    A basket of fruit left there in mercy
    Looking around, her neighbor nods and waves
    Pineapple, mango all so glorious
    Sustenance to continue in her walk
    Through friend and stranger both is warm kindness

    At her desk she writes in simple kindness
    To tell of wonders she has discovered
    With her words they along her path, too, walk
    Filled with her spirit of cheerful mercy
    On page in syllables glorious
    New and marvelous words appear in waves

    Afternoon clouds roll on gently waving
    The seagull’s chatter to her ears is kind
    Her prayers are soft, soaring up to glory
    Her joy refreshed, renewed, rediscovered
    Praises sung to God for all His mercies
    Grateful even now for the days she’s walked

    Down this solitary road she has walked
    Recollections flood over her in waves
    She takes comfort now in tender mercies
    Not lonely, surrounds herself in kindness
    Her joy yet by others undiscovered
    ‘Tis faith and hope and love- ‘tis glorious!

    How glorious are steps upon her walk
    Discoveries of life appear in waves
    Kindness comes to take her home in mercy

  7. Linda Napikoski

    Big Apple

    The greatest city in the world
    Now you can make it anywhere
    And you will never sleep
    It’s what I hear over and over
    But little do these people know
    About the world beyond the Hudson

    A country west of the Hudson?
    They scoff; they know the world
    But the world they know
    Has no prairies anywhere
    And that zone you fly over
    Is a place for them to sleep

    But if their talk puts ME to sleep
    If I blithely cross the Hudson
    And revel in New Jersey, over and over
    I cannot for all the world
    Tell them about anywhere
    They don’t already know

    I suppose the natives didn’t know
    As the old world went to sleep
    That there would never be anywhere
    As famous as this island on the Hudson
    In all the brave new manifest world
    That Europe then took over

    And now my stint is over
    And I want everyone to know
    After living here and around the world
    I always find somewhere to sleep
    While planes land in the Hudson
    Instead of flying anywhere

    Subways cabbies street food anywhere
    Someone trying to put one over
    About pollution in the Hudson
    It may be better the less you know
    Just close your eyes to sleep
    And dream about a different world

    You’ll see the world on this ship to anywhere
    And in your sleep you won’t cross over
    But you’ll know what’s left in the death of the Hudson

  8. Rachel L


    I keep reading Sestina
    and seeing Siesta
    all the structure and squeeze
    with capital ZZZZ’s

    Can’t fit my words
    into little herds
    and have them behave
    they fight and I crave

    For freedom to wander
    to produce and to squander
    Siesta no more
    Sestina a snore

  9. Stephanie D.


    Inside us all there is ingrained
    a burning need we can’t explain.
    ignore, escape or keep contained.
    ‘Til sated it will e’er remain,
    and though the urge may be disdained
    we’re meant to answer love’s refrain.

    If happiness we try to feign
    a thimbleful of joy we gain
    while aching from our own disdain.
    Self-honestly would make it plain
    our heart’s desire in the main
    a thimble just cannot contain.

    The beauty that a love contains
    should feel as warm as summer rain,
    and fundamental hope remains,
    belief that we can count each grain
    of sand upon our earthly plain
    with certainty, without disdain.

    We strive to reach the stars yet deign
    to scoff at what our hearts contain,
    and yet the conflict does explain
    the trouble with our human reign:
    to block the way of our own gain
    yet wonder why we here remain.

    Let’s imitate the lion’s mane,
    the king who lives without disdain,
    his regalness try to ingrain
    his pride and soul his heart contains
    the power of his his kingly reign
    and somehow silently explains.

    Apply the king’s lead to our plane
    and don’t let residues remain
    of sorrow nor of hate-refrain
    these negatives we must disdain.
    Instead our hearts beat to contain
    a love for all deep to ingrain.

    Ingrained and thus explained
    Contained and e’er remained,
    Lacking disdain the human reign.

  10. Lauri Land

    There has always been a hunger to write
    in my core. I think of elaborate stories, never using my pen
    to jot them down. I’ve also thought of poems, some concrete.
    I have never liked the feeling of inadequacy, and don’t often rise to a challenge
    unless I can be sure of my success. It’s frustrating
    to think, for example, that I may never write a sestina.

    Although I enjoy free-form poems, structured poetic forms, like the sestina
    are appealing, as they give a foundation on which to write,
    which can decrease (or increase) frustration,
    depending on whether you’re the type who’d rather live in a pen
    or ride the freedom train. Would it be more of a challenge
    to be restricted, or not know concretely

    where your next meal may come from? Concrete thinkers would have a harder time incorporating the word sestina
    into this poem six times. I guess it’s a challenge
    I’ve decided to meet. Does that mean that I’m capable of writing
    a poem like this? One with a pen-
    name who writes professionally would read this and be frustrated.

    I don’t mean to frustrate
    you, and realize that this isn’t so much concrete
    as some stream-of-consciousness that I’m penning.
    It feels like a weird dream-a, this sestina.
    If I had all month, I couldn’t get it right.
    I’m remembering why I hate challenges.

    But, in early April, I decided to join the poem-a-day-challenge
    on Poetic Asides. Some days have been frustrating
    and some feel so right.
    I’ve experimented with abstract and concrete,
    and early on wanted to try the sestina
    but procrastinated until I decided not to pen

    one this month, but to get out my pen
    over the summer when the challenge
    of working full-time won’t interfere with the sestina
    attempts. It won’t be as frustrating
    and I can stray from the concrete
    forms that don’t feel as right.

    So now I write, hand cramped by pen,
    wanting to dump this ‘poem’ in concrete and forget the whole challenge.

  11. Kimmy Van Kooten

    Bertha Gray Loved Acorn Squash

    She’s a prude one, Bertha Gray
    Like pumice, rubbed the wrong way . . .
    Like a deer, fixed and careful
    For a cuppa tea, she’d wax up your ears full!
    Posh of English, snot of Scot. . . . is that really you with your Irish nose up?
    Sniffin’ no bosh, Bertha Gray loved acorn squash!

    She loved all types of squash!
    My nana, good ole, Bertha Georgie-Ruth Gray . . .
    All she held down, never got up!
    She’ll slap you silly if you get in her way!
    God forbid if you ever talked with your mouth full!
    And what comes out, you say, very precise and careful!

    Nana always harped on, the spending so careful . . .
    She’d say, "It’s all in how you see the squash!"
    Life can be withered, or be rounded and full . . .
    It can’t be mealy or show spots of gray?
    Ripen your minds in a mathematical way!
    Spending on the vine, you’ll always dry up!

    Erect, she would sit up!
    Over and over, how I’d hear she was so freakin’ careful!
    But, it wasn’t my way!
    And I realized, my true genus of squash!
    If your running in the red, your skies are gray. . .
    If your constantly emptying the nest, an egg, you’ll never full!

    How did she live a life so full?
    Getting her cracks in at dawn, would always get her up!
    But, who was she, this Bertha Gray?
    How does one be so careful?
    How do you fill the acorn, without the squash?
    Could I be happy if I did it her way?

    Saving my money the old Bertha Gray way?
    Again, I’m chewing with my mouth full!
    I can’t even look at squash!
    The minute I raise my fork, the tine is all up!
    I think about being so careful. . .
    I think of my grandmother, and her father, Stephen Gray . . .

    Gray’s!. . . they all had that way!
    Careful! . . . they all had both pockets full!
    Up with the finger, I hate SQUASH!

  12. Sharon Spielman

    ’Til Death

    With her heart, she was loving.
    In her sole, she was wanting.
    Disappointment, a familiar feeling.
    Her endless needing,
    She was always having
    A yearning for holding.

    Yes, she yearned to be held
    She longed to be loved.
    Would she ever have
    What she thought she wanted?
    Her insatiable need
    Followed by that empty feeling.

    Was she the only one who felt
    Like she was always holding
    Her breath, needing
    To walk on eggshells around her Love.
    How she wanted
    What others seemed to have.

    They were happy, having
    arms entwined and copping feels.
    Oh how she wanted
    Him to show his hold
    on her. She was so loving
    Yet oh so needy.

    This deep-seated need
    never left. She would have
    to remain alone in loving
    him for him, feeling
    never quite good enough, holding
    on to him–all she ever wanted.

    She’d go on wanting.
    She’d forever feel needy.
    By her fingertips, she’d hold
    on to him, never having
    to apologize for feeling
    such unwavering love.

    Yes, she loved, always wanting
    More than he could feel, more than he needed.
    Forever, to have and to hold.

  13. Melanie

    I really wanted to try this form but I just haven’t been able to make it work yet and since it’s 11:15 EDT now I figured I had to post something so that this one poem didn’t leave my month incomplete! So maybe later… In the mean time I think this qualifies for the second prompt.

    Oh sestina, you break my heart
    But not for you, I would be a part
    Of the group that wrote a poem a day,
    Or at least wrote 30 by the 1st of May.
    I stared at the page until my eyes were dry.
    If I wanted to, I could not cry.
    But wait these words they rhyme.
    So I created a poem just in time!

  14. LeNora



    I Try To Understand Any Child
    That Lives With Fear Of Abuse
    Wondering When Will Be The Next Touch
    Will They Be Sleeping, Of Just Somewhere Alone
    Can Anyone Explain To Them, Why?
    They Are All In Need Of A Friend

    You Begin To Share With A Friend
    Of Things That Occurred While As A Child
    Even They Can Not Explain Why?
    Children Face Such Extensive Abuse!
    They Try To Help With Feelings Of Loneliness
    Be Reaching Out With A Gentle Touch

    Even With A Slight Touch
    From Family Or A Friend
    An Adult Can Relive Being Alone
    And The Fear They Had As A Child
    None Of Us Forget The Abuse
    None Of Us Stop Asking, Why?

    So Many Times I Have Asked The Question, Why?
    When Fear Has Resurfaced From A Touch
    We Want To Be Honest About The Abuse
    Especially When Sharing With A Friend
    We Couldn’t Find Peace As A Child
    But With A Friend, We Are Not Alone

    When I Find Myself All Alone
    I Start Again With The Questions Of Why?
    No One Is More Innocent Than A Child
    Until AN ADULT Gives Them That First Touch
    You Want So Much To Have A Friend
    When They Enter And Start With Their Abuse

    I Wish I Could Stop All The Abuse
    I Give Myself, When I Am Alone
    I Once Had A Special, Close, Trusting Friend
    That Was Helping Me With My Whys
    Nothing Was More Secure Than Her Touch
    I Sometimes Was Again As A Child

    When A Child Is Being Abused
    Being Touched While All Alone
    Never Question Why?, Be Their Friend and STAY!!

  15. Chad Frame

    French Torture

    To them, Geneva refers only
    to American trash cookies,
    the FLN shocking the world
    with their gégéne generators meant
    for telephones. This controversy
    is still charged to this day,
    Algerian moans echoed in protests.

    Sometimes the French are subtler, blades
    sheathed in silk–the Sestina, a lattice
    of convoluted redundancy,
    an awkward stumble of a poem, each
    stanza a stutter of its ancestor.

    Everything I try comes out strained.
    This is worse than Penelope weaving
    and unweaving, stalling for time.
    This is stitching flesh slowly, each labored
    line an exercise in cruelty.

    Perhaps I am exaggerating
    just a tad, but my frustration
    is neither unique nor unfounded.
    We poets are already weavers
    strained at the seams; we do not need
    your six-point device, as we have only
    four limbs for you to try to stretch.

  16. amanda

    Caveat Lector:
    Here are the six words I had my friend give me for my sestina:
    Fish Cut Bait Taste Touch Feel.
    I asked that they be words that function as both nouns and verbs so I could play more.
    I thought these words would be great because I don’t usually write about outdoorsy things and they reminded me of Elizabeth Bishop’s amazing poem “The Fish.”
    Here is how much of my sestina I have done so far:

    Yep. Zilch. It is still swimming inside my head so, here is my submission:

    Sestina Song
    for Robert, after Donald Barthelme

    I can’t believe Robert gave us a sestina
    Ah ah ah ah ah

    It’s been forever since I tried to wrote in form
    Ah ah ah ah ah

    It’s the end of the month and my brain is getting crispy
    Ah ah ah ah ah

    Heinrich your Heine in French would be foufounes
    Ah ah ah ah ah

    Though a closer translation would be tush, not Heine
    Ah ah ah ah ah

    and I’ll send in my sestina when I finally get ‘er done
    Ah ah ah ah ah


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